By William M. Botts
SC Contributing Writer
It’s not every day you see a grown man cry. Millie Román-Buday has.
It is 6:00 PM Saturday evening and well past her office hours. A disconsolate adult learner, on the verge of tears, walks into Román-Buday’s office desperately needing a shoulder to lean on. Piecing together a grown man who is frustrated about college cannot be easy.
Román-Buday is the Assistant Director of Admissions for Degree Completion Programs at East Stroudsburg University’s Lehigh Valley Center in Bethlehem, PA.
“I’m very passionate about what I do,” she said. “It’s not every day that one has the opportunity to change someone’s life, future, and opportunities — I do! And that’s something I take very seriously.”
Román-Buday specializes in helping adults, young and old, enter and complete college in ESU’s Adult Degree Completion Program.
The program helps students see the value of education. It opens opportunities for them which are otherwise not available so that they can better themselves.
She comes from a family of strong Latina woman, and credits her mother and sister as major influences growing up.
When talking about her family, she said, “I’m a first generation Latina and even though my mother only has a fourth grade education, she instilled in all four of her children the value of education not only to better ourselves personally but professionally. She believed that education was the passport to better opportunities and therefore, a better quality of life.”
As for her sister, Román-Buday said, “She pushed me to strive for what I wanted and not to settle for mediocrity.”
Román-Buday expressed that she has always had a passion for helping people. Prior to working at ESU, she worked as a translator at an emergency room and trauma center. She also volunteered when she was younger.
She believes her biggest accomplishment was defeating breast cancer. She said, “It certainly wasn’t easy, but it made me a stronger person mentally.”
Secretary Patti Gesell said, “Millie always has a lot on her plate, but makes herself available to all of our students every step of the way. She guides them in the right direction. Millie is a big benefit to ESU.”
In a typical day, she completes credit evaluations, communicates with potential students, and reviews applications.
She also spends a fair amount of time on the road in northeastern Pennsylvania, visiting college fairs, companies, and organizations.
Román-Buday describes herself as passionate, honest, and fun. She adds that you’ll be hard pressed to find her without her Dunkin Donuts iced coffee.
When asked if the United States is doing enough for education, she said, “The country should be funding education to young and older students alike. I think it’s a crime that the US national students’ educational debt surpasses the national consumer debt.”
Millie Román-Buday is an inspiration to many students at ESU. According to her email signature, “Awesome ain’t easy…but it’s worth striving for it!”
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